Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes

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Recipe from Real Simple magazine

Ingredients:

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1-1 1/2 lemon(s), juiced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp salt

pepper, to taste

1 lb green beans, trimmed

8 small red potatoes, quartered

1 1/2 lb chicken (I used thighs)

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Right out of the oven; look how crispy the potatoes are!

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°; coat a baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk together.

Add the green beans and toss; remove with a slotted spoon and place on bottom of baking dish.

Add potatoes to the mixture, toss to coat, use spoon to arrange on top of green beans.

Finally, add chicken to the remaining mixture and coat thoroughly.

Place chicken on top of potatoes (skin side up, if using bone-in, with skin).

Pour any remaining mixture over chicken.

Roast for 40 minutes then check chicken; should be 165°.

Remove to a plate and roast additional 15 minutes, if needed, until potatoes are fork-tender.

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You can see all the layers of deliciousness in this picture.

Review:

This is soooooooo gooooood! An easy, one-dish meal that takes 10 minutes to prep is always a winner in my book, and one that is this delicious is a keeper.

The original recipe calls for a layer of lemon slices at the bottom of the dish, and the first time I made it I did that but Jason and I agreed that it was too lemony. When I made it the second time, I left the layer out and added the juice of another half lemon; I don’t know why, but that made a difference. The flavors blended together better. Feel free to add as much garlic as you like; I put in 4 large cloves and thought it was perfect. The garlic will roast along with everything else and it mellows in flavor as it does. This is a savory, bright, garlic-y, hearty dish that is good all year round. We had to exercise serious restraint to not eat the entire pan.

Because I used skinless, boneless chicken thighs (this time), I covered the dish with aluminum foil while it roasted. After 40 minutes, I turned the chicken, removed the foil and let it roast for 15 more minutes to be sure the potatoes on the bottom were fully cooked. Next time, I will leave the foil on the entire time, because the top of the chicken dried out a little once the foil was removed. (If I had made this with bone-in chicken that still had the skin on I would not put on the foil. That way the skin will have a chance to get nice and crispy.) I also pared down how much oil I used; the original recipe calls for 6 tablespoons, but that is way too much, especially if the chicken skin renders even more fat into the dish. I think I used three and a half to four tablespoons this time, and that was a perfect amount to make sure everything got a nice coating of sauce.

Though it takes a while in the oven, this really is an easy dish that can be prepared the night before and thrown in as soon as you get home. If green beans aren’t in season, I think this could be made with carrots, parsnips or acorn squash, just adjust the cooking time accordingly. Enjoy!

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Asian Quinoa Salad

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Recipe from http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com

Ingredients, salad:

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 cup chopped red cabbage*

1 cup shelled and cooked edamame*

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup shredded carrots*

1 cup diced cucumber (I used 2 mini ones – fewer seeds)

Ingredients, dressing:

1/4 low sodium soy sauce (or tamari sauce)

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1/4 tsp grated ginger

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

black pepper, to taste

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*To simplify this recipe, buy pre-shredded cabbage and carrots; shelled, cooked edamame can be found in your frozen food section. Just microwave and add! Saves SO much time!

Directions:

Place cooked quinoa in a bowl and add all the vegetables. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together all the dressing ingredients.

Pour over quinoa and veggies, stir to combine.

Can be served warm or room temperature.

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Review:

I’m always afraid that there’s never enough dressing…and yet, I hate over-dressed, sloppy salads. This was the perfect amount of dressing, even though there was a ton of this salad!

I thought this was a terrific side dish. Quinoa is famous for being full of protein, as are the edamame beans, so this really can stand on its own as a main vegetarian dish. The cabbage, cucumber, peppers and carrots added a nice crunch, while the edamame lent some chewy texture to the dish. Jason isn’t a fan of edamame, so I cooked them and left them on the side, only adding to my plate, which is why you don’t see them in every photo.

The soy dressing was noticeable, but not overwhelming. (Please note, I didn’t add any extra salt; even when you use low-sodium soy sauce it still contains a strong salty flavor.) The inclusion of the sesame oil and rice vinegar gave the dressing a silky feel with a bit of a bright pop to it. The green onions and sesame seeds also added a little extra crunch. I love cilantro so I added about 1/2 a cup, but if this is a flavor you don’t care for it can be omitted without taking away from the dish.

To round out this meal, I pan-seared chicken breasts in 1 teaspoon of sesame oil, then diced it and added it as we went. As I stated before, this really doesn’t need any other protein, but it would go well with almost anything. This can easily be made ahead of time and brought to a party, and since there isn’t any mayonnaise you don’t have to worry about it spoiling if it sits out for a while.

This meal is really the epitome of Simplify with Sarah: pre-prepped ingredients, a quick toss and you can have a flavorful, healthy meal in 15 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Grilled Romaine with Corn and Tomatoes

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Adapted from the July/August issue of Redbook

Ingredients:

1 head Romaine lettuce

1 can sweet corn

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 small shallot

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbsp

juice of 1/2 a lemon

2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

 

Directions:

Thinly slice the shallot, slice the tomatoes in half.

Drain the corn, then add all ingredients to a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan cheese.

Add salt and pepper to your liking, then pour dressing over vegetables. Refrigerate until needed.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat.

Slice the lettuce in half lengthwise and brush with remaining tablespoon oil.

Salt and pepper, if desired.

Grill cut-side down for 3 minutes.

Top with corn and tomato mixture and serve immediately.

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Letting everything sit together marries the flavors together.

Review:

I have seen recipes that grill lettuce for some time now, so I figured I would give it a shot.

I combined several different dressing suggestions and really like what I came up with. In fact, there could have even been more lemon juice added to brighten all the flavors. Grilling the lettuce was really neat! It added a smoky depth that I never would have expected. Next time I’m going to leave it on a little longer, maybe 4-5 minutes to really char it. Watch it carefully if you do this, however! Those suckers can incinerate in a second.

The sweetness of the tomatoes and corn were balanced nicely by the smokiness of the lettuce and the bite of the shallot and dressing tied everything together nicely. I had a decent amount of the corn and tomatoes left over, so feel free to grill two heads of lettuce instead of one; it just depends on how much topping you like.

I served this next to chicken thighs marinated in olive oil, Sazon and Adobo, but it would also be great with a steak or even portobello mushroom caps (shout out to all my vegetarian friends). Overall, this is a great side dish for the hot days of summer; it will fill you up, but not weigh you down. Enjoy!

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I mean, seriously, how cool is grilled lettuce?

 

Muffin Tin Omelettes

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Ingredients:

8 eggs; 4 whole, 4 white only

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 scallions, diced

2 cups baby spinach, chopped (measure before chopping)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided

any kind of shredded cheese

salt and pepper to taste

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Observe the vegetable goodness

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°.

After peppers and scallions are chopped, heat 2 tsp oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Cook peppers and onions until they soften, about 5 minutes.

Add chopped spinach and garlic, cook for 2 minutes more.

While vegetables are cooking, crack 4 eggs into a large measuring cup or mixing bowl, then add 4 yolks.

Whisk together, season with salt and pepper if desired.

Slowly add vegetables to eggs, gently mixing to distribute.

Use the other tablespoon of olive oil to grease the bottom and sides of a muffin tin.

Pour egg mixture evenly into muffin tin, filling about 2/3 of the cup.

Top with shredded cheese, if desired.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.

Let cool, in muffin tin or baking rack; serve.

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Fresh out of the oven

Review:

I have to admit, this is the first time I am blogging about food before I have eaten it! But seriously, these are going to be amazing. A few things to mention: all the chopping is a bit of a pain, however it’s worth it to get everything evenly distributed when you add it to the eggs. In fact, it may be easer to double the recipe and make two full batches to save time in the long run. Next, these are a little “watery” when they come out of the tins, but don’t worry. That’s just because the veggies have some moisture in them. When the omelettes cool or if you microwave them, the moisture will dissipate. These should keep in the fridge for about 4 days, or you can freeze them in an airtight container for a little over a week. I doubt they will last that long!

This is an excellent breakfast. The eggs are full of protein, and using only 4 yolks keeps the cholesterol down. Each egg cup has 4 different vegetables, and the minuscule amount of cheese used to top each one only adds a little fat and calories. Not enough to make a huge difference, but if you’re watching each calorie you can simply leave it off. If you need a kick of flavor (doubt it), you can sprinkle on some hot sauce or salsa for another serving of veggies! These can be eaten on the go, which is great for busy mornings, and because they’re “muffins” you may be able to convince kids to eat them as well! Enjoy!

 

Some additional thoughts:

I filled my tins a little too much, so I only got 9 muffins this time. 

These would be a great make-ahead breakfast or snack if you’re expecting company, or they would be perfect for a pot-luck breakfast or holiday feast.

The recipe I was inspired by said these have only 50 calories per muffin. With the addition of the cheese the count goes up a little, but I’d feel confident saying these have  around 75 calories each.

If you don’t like the vegetables I used, you could easily substitute something else. Mushrooms would work, diced tomatoes or white onions as well; basically these can be modified to please everyone!

 

Chicken Fajita Pasta

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Recipes from Kevinandamanda.com and picky-palate.com

Ingredients:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken (breast or thighs)

3 tbsp fajita seasoning (recipe below, or use 1 envelope pre-made)

2 cups diced onion

2 cups diced red and green bell peppers

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream (I used whole milk)

1 14-oz can diced tomatoes

1 4-oz can diced green chilies

8 oz pasta (avoid long pasta, you want it to grip the sauce)

1/2 tsp salt (I omitted)

 

 

Directions:

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces; season with half of taco seasoning.

In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add chicken in single layer and cook without stirring until one side is seared and browned.

Flip and cook other side; remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil and turn heat to high.

When oil is very hot, add onions, bell peppers and remaining taco seasoning.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are slightly blackened.

Turn heat to low, add garlic and stir until fragrant and well combined, about 30 seconds.

Remove veggies to plate with the chicken.

In the same skillet, add broth, cream, diced tomatoes, chilies and uncooked pasta.

Stir to combine, then bring to a boil.

Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes until pasta is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed.

Add the chicken and veggies back to the skillet, stir to combine and heat through, about 2 minutes.

Serve hot.

 

Review:

Let’s hear it for one-pot meals! And again, shout out to my friend Antonia for finding and sharing this recipe. It’s perfect for a busy night because chopping the chicken and veggies is the most time-consuming part! All in all, this takes about 35 minutes to pull together.

This was great, though the first time I made it it was a little too salty. I just used a tiny bit less of the fajita seasoning the second time and cut out the teaspoon of salt and that worked perfectly. The fajita seasoning is really easy to pull together, and I like that you can adjust the amount of spices if you want to. With a pre-packaged mix that’s not an option.

With this dish, I like that you are getting a good amount of vegetables in a sneaky way. You can adjust your cooking time to make sure the pasta doesn’t get mushy as well. This was hearty, creamy, spicy and crunchy, all at the same time. It’s exactly what you think fajita pasta would taste like. I think it’s a dish kids would like as well, as it’s really fun to combine two different cuisines. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients for taco seasoning:

1/4 cup ground cumin

1/4 cup kosher salt (I would halve this next time)

2 tbsp garlic salt

2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper

2 tbsp smoked paprika

 

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Stir to combine, then place in an airtight container.

Use about 3 tbsp seasoning to 1 pound of meat.

(I got 2+ servings out of this and it couldn’t be easier!)

 

 

Spinach, Mushroom and Feta Crustless Quiche

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Recipe from Budgetbytes.com

Ingredients:

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

10 oz frozen spinach, thawed OR 5 oz fresh baby spinach

4 large eggs

1 cup milk (I used 1%)

2 oz. low-fat feta cheese

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, low-fat or low-moisture

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

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Fresh out of the oven

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°

If using frozen spinach, squeeze out excess moisture.

Add olive oil, mushrooms, spinach and garlic to a non-stick skillet. Saute until mushrooms are soft and all their moisture has evaporated.

Coat a 9-inch pie dish with non-stick spray. Place the vegetable mixture on bottom of the pie dish.

Top with the crumbled feta cheese.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and Parmesan. Season lightly with pepper.

Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and feta. Top with shredded mozzarella.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Cut into 6 slices and serve.

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The mushroom is trying to escape!

Review:

The first thing I have to do is thank my friend Antonia for sharing this recipe with me. It. Was. Amazing! I have only recently begun to like quiche, but the crust really makes the calorie and fat count add up so I mostly avoid them. However, this is obviously a crustless quiche, so it’s healthier!

I wasn’t sure how filling it would be without the crust. As you can see from the photo, my pie dish was really a rectangular baking dish, so we got about 8 pieces out of the quiche, and boy, were they filling! With the combination of cheeses and vegetables this was really flavorful. A little salty, a little sweet from the spinach, and the mushrooms gave a nice hearty feel to each bite.

This was a lovely early spring meal, and I look forward to making it again. We usually don’t have eggs or cheese in the house (what is wrong with us?), so I will have to plan ahead, but it’s totally worth it. Pulling everything together is really east, and the left-overs were just as good as the first night’s meal! This would be a great breakfast, especially if you have guests and want to make something ahead of time. As a dinner, you could stretch it by serving it along side a salad of mixed greens and cherry tomatoes; now I’m getting hungry! Enjoy!

Three Herb Chicken and Mushrooms

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Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken thighs, skin on or off (your preference)

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

2 tbsp rosemary (I used dried)

2 tbsp thyme (also dried)

1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 tbsp all purpose flour

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth (I stuck with broth)

2 tbsp Dijon-style mustard

1 tbsp parsley (again, I used dried)

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Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°; season chicken with oil, salt, pepper and 1 tbsp each rosemary and thyme.
Roast until internal temperature reaches 165°, about 30 minutes.
During last 10 minutes of roasting, add 1 tbsp olive oil to a pan and cook mushrooms over medium-high heat.
Cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes.
Add flour to skillet, stirring to coat.
Stir in chicken broth, wine and mustard; cook and stir until tick and bubbly.
Cook one minute more; remove from heat and add remaining rosemary, thyme and parsley.
Serve mushroom sauce over chicken.
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Review:

Initially, I was nervous about this sauce. It seemed a little daunting to make something so rich and thick without the addition of milk, cream or butter. I was also afraid I would burn the sauce, but I didn’t! The sauce comes together really quickly, so as long as you keep an eye on it you’ll be fine.

I have made this twice, and Jason and I both love it. There’s a nice combination of the sweetness from the roasted chicken, the earthiness of the mushrooms and the complimentary flavors from all the herbs. In fact, when I brought left-overs to work the next day, all my friends were interested in trying a bite! (Except for my one friend who is anti-rosemary. She’s weird.)

Now that I think of it, you probably could imitate this sauce by heating up a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup. But why on Earth would you want to??? This is just as easy and healthier, by far! In fact, if you use skinless chicken there’s almost nothing unhealthy about this dish at all! I would recommend serving it with something green; I roasted cauliflower the first time I made it, and though it tasted yummy, there’s something sad about an all beige dinner plate. Please give this a try and let me know how you like it. Though I made it during the winter and early spring, it’s a good dish for all year; you can grill the chicken and then top it with the mushroom sauce! Enjoy!

Nutritional Information, as per BH&G (includes chicken skin and wine):

Per serving:

757 calories

54 g fat (Why is this so high?? Damn you, chicken skin!)

722 mg sodium

6 g carbs

1 g fiber

2 g sugar

55 g protein (Woot woot!)